Customer Reviews for

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Proud to State My Name, LoCicero (My father was wounded at Anzio)

I certainly do not agree with Mr Anonymous below and his negative review of this book and its author. His bragging of being an expert in the subject just belies the ignorance in his words. The only experts in war are those that have served and those that have died in th...
I certainly do not agree with Mr Anonymous below and his negative review of this book and its author. His bragging of being an expert in the subject just belies the ignorance in his words. The only experts in war are those that have served and those that have died in that service. I don't believe Mr Anonymous is either.

Here we have the full panoply of bloody modern warfare, usually not
glorious and often with much pathos. We are with the Allied troops as they land in Sicily, most by amphibious, some by air drop. The fighting is detailed in all its minutiae with the main command characters profiled and followed in their decisions and interpersonal communications. The author makes all this very interesting and places the characters within the socio-politico spheres of the time. From Sicily the next location the Allies strike toward is mainland Italy. The Brits move in one direction and the Americans another. Again command figures take center stage, lead among them General Mark Clark. What a fellow. This part of the book becomes enthralling. The slugfest and amount of human and physical destruction wrought by these two forces is unbelievable. All culminating in the seizure of Rome on June 5, 1944. This is one day before the Normandy landings and the final chapter in the destruction of the Third Reich. Hence the Italian campaign becomes postscript to the events leading up to Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945. We have lived with these men through the author's words and we know the sacrifices that they have made. This important part of the European theater of war during World War II should never be forgotten and must always be honored.

posted by Tennesseedog on December 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Passionate history disappoints in style and tone

Authoritative and mountainous work on the 608 day campaign to liberate Italy during World War II, that would cost the Allies 312,000 casualities. The complex, controversial, bloody military campaign in Sicily and Italy is covered in Volume 2 of Rick Atkinson's Liberatio...
Authoritative and mountainous work on the 608 day campaign to liberate Italy during World War II, that would cost the Allies 312,000 casualities. The complex, controversial, bloody military campaign in Sicily and Italy is covered in Volume 2 of Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy with mixed results for this reader. Atkinson does a tremendous job with military tactics, units, jargon, and intimate portraits of the central participants in the tragic and savage fight for Italy, that would cost American troops 120,000 casualities including 23,501 killed. His writing style lacks clarity and focus, however, and often times I felt his shifting attention caused a disjointed effect. I was given a more concise, succinct, and clearer description of the Italian campaign in the 12 pages of my copy of the Time-Life History of WWII, with a forward by Eric Sevaried' who Atkinson quotes frequently in this book,than in the entire 588 page tome here by Atkinson. I am someone who was able to give a complete oral history of the events leading up to, through, and following WWII, by the time I was 10 years old, and as such, I consider myself an expert on the war. Having read every book imaginable on the WWII, this book's style and tone disturbed me. Atkinson tries too hard to be poetic in his writing, which causes a strained effect for the reader, and he writes a very unflattering portrait of the Allies, and often seems to admire the Germans which is strangely bizarre. It's great to present a warts and all portrayal of history from all vantage points, but Atkinson plays up Allied mistakes and atrocities, plays down the German ones, with the exception of the Rome massacre, and seems to be following an agenda of somehow equating the Germans and Allies on the same moral plain. As someone who knows the war so well, most of this book is old news to me and a re-hash of events I learned about in the 1970's, and Atkinson conveniently leaves out facts such as the secret negotiations for the surrender of Kesselring's German army that began after the fall of Rome, but were hamstrung by the protests of the Russians, and the last crushing attacks by the Allies that ended the war in April 1945. Atkinson loves to make dubious assertions of opinion, and drone on and on about Allied mistakes, faults, and tragedy, and then he'll write so many times 'but with all this the Allies were able to overcome the Germans', and then never describes how the Allies were able to obtain victory through these tough struggles. Historians like Atkinson are trying to foist a new history of the war onto young audiences unfamiliar with WWII. Those of us well-versed in the history of WWII will not allow this revisionist history of WWII to go unchallenged.

posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2008

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  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Proud to State My Name, LoCicero (My father was wounded at Anzio)

    I certainly do not agree with Mr Anonymous below and his negative review of this book and its author. His bragging of being an expert in the subject just belies the ignorance in his words. The only experts in war are those that have served and those that have died in that service. I don't believe Mr Anonymous is either.

    Here we have the full panoply of bloody modern warfare, usually not
    glorious and often with much pathos. We are with the Allied troops as they land in Sicily, most by amphibious, some by air drop. The fighting is detailed in all its minutiae with the main command characters profiled and followed in their decisions and interpersonal communications. The author makes all this very interesting and places the characters within the socio-politico spheres of the time. From Sicily the next location the Allies strike toward is mainland Italy. The Brits move in one direction and the Americans another. Again command figures take center stage, lead among them General Mark Clark. What a fellow. This part of the book becomes enthralling. The slugfest and amount of human and physical destruction wrought by these two forces is unbelievable. All culminating in the seizure of Rome on June 5, 1944. This is one day before the Normandy landings and the final chapter in the destruction of the Third Reich. Hence the Italian campaign becomes postscript to the events leading up to Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945. We have lived with these men through the author's words and we know the sacrifices that they have made. This important part of the European theater of war during World War II should never be forgotten and must always be honored.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2008

    Passionate history disappoints in style and tone

    Authoritative and mountainous work on the 608 day campaign to liberate Italy during World War II, that would cost the Allies 312,000 casualities. The complex, controversial, bloody military campaign in Sicily and Italy is covered in Volume 2 of Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy with mixed results for this reader. Atkinson does a tremendous job with military tactics, units, jargon, and intimate portraits of the central participants in the tragic and savage fight for Italy, that would cost American troops 120,000 casualities including 23,501 killed. His writing style lacks clarity and focus, however, and often times I felt his shifting attention caused a disjointed effect. I was given a more concise, succinct, and clearer description of the Italian campaign in the 12 pages of my copy of the Time-Life History of WWII, with a forward by Eric Sevaried' who Atkinson quotes frequently in this book,than in the entire 588 page tome here by Atkinson. I am someone who was able to give a complete oral history of the events leading up to, through, and following WWII, by the time I was 10 years old, and as such, I consider myself an expert on the war. Having read every book imaginable on the WWII, this book's style and tone disturbed me. Atkinson tries too hard to be poetic in his writing, which causes a strained effect for the reader, and he writes a very unflattering portrait of the Allies, and often seems to admire the Germans which is strangely bizarre. It's great to present a warts and all portrayal of history from all vantage points, but Atkinson plays up Allied mistakes and atrocities, plays down the German ones, with the exception of the Rome massacre, and seems to be following an agenda of somehow equating the Germans and Allies on the same moral plain. As someone who knows the war so well, most of this book is old news to me and a re-hash of events I learned about in the 1970's, and Atkinson conveniently leaves out facts such as the secret negotiations for the surrender of Kesselring's German army that began after the fall of Rome, but were hamstrung by the protests of the Russians, and the last crushing attacks by the Allies that ended the war in April 1945. Atkinson loves to make dubious assertions of opinion, and drone on and on about Allied mistakes, faults, and tragedy, and then he'll write so many times 'but with all this the Allies were able to overcome the Germans', and then never describes how the Allies were able to obtain victory through these tough struggles. Historians like Atkinson are trying to foist a new history of the war onto young audiences unfamiliar with WWII. Those of us well-versed in the history of WWII will not allow this revisionist history of WWII to go unchallenged.

    6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    Really Great Book

    My dad rarely spoke about his experiences with the 36th Division in Salerno and Anzio, so I bought this book hoping to gain some insight. Now I know why he tried to forget the horrors he witnessed. This is a most authentic account of the personalities involved in both running a war as well as the actual fighting.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    A good read about a very dirty part of WWII

    This second volume in the Atkinson "Trilogy" on WWI covers the war in Italy, especially the long slog to capture Monte Cassino. Atkinson is a good storyteller, and he moves the tale along with many human vignettes (mostly about leaders at the Corps level or above, and Ernie Pyle). But he also is good at describing the terrible human cost resulting from Churchill's last effort at asserting British "equality" in making strategic decisions -- and the terrible human cost that Americans (and British, too) paid in allowing Churchill to prevail. This volume (and series) is written for the reader who wants a "good read" and is little concerned about the evidence of the scholarship behind the written word. For that audience, it is another success, and whets the appetite for a third volume about the war in France & the drive to Berlin that ended the war

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    A great read.

    More in depth about this part of the war than most histories, so it fills some gaps in conventional accounts. Well written and balanced analysis.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    The Daughter of a Texas Ranger-36th Division

    Texas Ranger Division 36 142 Company D Infantry Regiment I bought this book to learn more about his experience in the war from 1943-1945. Few stories had been told only brief comments like I lost a lot of friends! He had enlisted and was sent to Texas from NY state...I learned a lot and can better put the pieces together of his reference to the "hill" and so many people lost ,not having clothing for the weather ! This book might help others like me that are trying to fill in brief stories they had heard. I know it was a help to me.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    Jon, son of 34th Inf Div officer

    I had to drag stories out of my father about the Italian campaign, including this one: as the 34th prepared their third crossing of the Rapido, one of my fathers officers said: 'Captain, I can't live through another crossing. Somebody shoot me a little so I can go the hospital.' My father was cleaning a captured Walther PP pistol. Playfully, my father pointed the gun at the guy and gently touched the trigger. There was bullet left in the chamber and it took off the guys left pinky finger. He missed the crossing, but indeed did die in the next battle. My father led his company across the river, and afterward checked himself into the field hospital for psychiatric care.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2014

    History rewrite

    With the way this book portrays the events between the invasion of Sicily to marching into Rome, it's easy to understand why the Greatest Generation didn't want to talk about their service. With thirty years of USAF time myself, retiring as a Colonel, I have to cringe at the poor decisions, pissing contests, communications issues, irresponsible personal behavior, and bumbling that Atkinson portrays as the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany. If we look at it with today's eyes, with over a 90% survival rate of our wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, the collaboration and unity of command necessary to prosecute a conflict, WWII is grim. If we look at it with trench warfare eyes, then progress was made. I did not give it five stars despite the fact that it is a captivating read because the author spent a lot of time focusing on all the bumbleheaded decisions that portray the entire conflict in a less than favorable light with today's eyes. In my view, Atkinson's portrayal is 180 degrees from Brokaw's Greatest Generation, even though the outcome is the same. It is an overall well researched and documented read, with copious first hand diary perspectives, and I will get the last in the trilogy, but to me it's a history rewrite.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    The Forgotten Front - Italy in WWII

    Long forgotten as a major front in WWII, except for Anzio, few know of the horrific battles fought in 1943-1944 in Italy. Mr. Anderson continues his outstanding scholarship and writing to brign home the details and actions from the landings in Sicily through the liberation of Rome. He is very balanced in his writing, detailing the strenghths and weaknesses of a full cast of commanders who, on both sides, had to deal with subordinates and political concerns as well as outright hostility among allies. What sets this work apart is how he has been able to relate the various actions to the overall campaign and how each influenced the other.
    This is a must reading for any WWII reader and should be essential for any collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome

    Rick Atkinson has done it again. This superb book provides an absorbing and very readable history of the American campaign in Italy during World War II. The pages and pages of citations in the back of the book are a testament to the research effort that he puts into his works. But instead of flooding us with detail, he selects items that provide a cross-section -- observations from Private to General -- that help the reader get a feel for and understand what was going on at that moment. <BR/><BR/>While there were many extraordinary Soldiers revealed in this work, the story of the US Army in Italy was also the story of LTG Mark Clark, the Fifth US Army Commander. Atkinson provies a very balanced view of his generalship because as it turns out, Clark is a leader that could easily be despised. While there is no doubt that the Fifth Army was successful, would there have been so many casualties without Clark's hubris? It is almost overwhelming at times to consider the losses that were suffered at the Rapido River and Cassinio.<BR/><BR/>I look forward to the final volume in Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    The Whole Bloody Campaign

    Atkinson is a great chronicler of the Italian Campign. Too often a war history is reported in a victory or defeat attitude and not the bloody crime it is. No one dies for their country, their lives were taken from them. Great job Rick.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2014

    Backdoor Moved Front: The Italian campaign

    My father served in the Army Air Force in WWII flying over France and Germany, and I heard some first hand history about that theater of the War as a child. War Movies like The Longest Day and , later Saving Private Ryan,re-enforce D-Day and the following months as what saved us from the Nazi hoard.This book by Rick Atkinson puts some background to what was possible in France and Germany by bringing out details of lessons learned the hard way to the Sicily and Italian campaigns which preceded the Normandy invasion.Clearly this campaign has not received the attention of the other,Chances are that without the front in Italy, and earlier North Africa there would have been no success possible in France. Day of Battle filled in some of my knowledge gaps in an easily readable and enjoyable manner. About to start the 3rd book in the trilogy so I can better understand what happened in France and Germany.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    Great

    Read it !

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  • Posted November 15, 2013

    high recommend

    Turning on to history, so really dig reading this book.......read his first north Africa book and will move on to the Normandy invasion...............worth your time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    The epic battle

    Hi its Jack Frost and i think Reshiram is much better and to see my awesome story go to battleship craft last result.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    The Epic Batle

    Which i better? Reshi or Zek? Post your answers here! Poll ends June 24th, at 6:00 p.m. central time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    War War in italy

    Good

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    The best book in the whole section

    Son of three marine sergents one given CMH

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    bit purple but good overview of yanks in italy

    bit purple but good overview of yanks in italy

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Narrative lost in the details

    When I finished the book I found myself disappointed. The book felt like thousands of notes and quotes strung together. The chronology was there, but the meaning of the Italian campaigns was lost in a torrent of somewhat gossipy details. I suggest "Anzio the Gamble that Failed by Martin Blumenson". It's a much shorter book which focuses on Anzio but which provides a better sense of the meaning of the Italian campaign in the overall Allied strategy. Besides Blumenson's book is available for free from B&N.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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